2021 Summer Student Exchange Program Experience 

Ambrus Gordos (HuPSA, Hungary)

Gachon University, Incheon, Laboratory of Physiopathology


I applied to the exchange program without knowing if it is possible to travel this year, because of the ongoing pandemic. Getting the Visa wasn’t easy, but with the immense hard work of the KNAPS team and a bit of luck I finally got it. This Visa process turned out to be the only frustrating thing on the whole trip. Even if I was in the airplane for a long time, I was literally thrilled to think about the fun things which will happen in South Korea. After two weeks of self - quarantine in a hotel, I met the Korean officials (KNAPS team). They were super nice and helpful, the food was great, the room was spacious, and the KNAPS members didn’t let me and the other quarantining exchange student be bored. They organized Zoom meetings where we played fun games and we were able to get to know each other better before meeting in person. I was looking forward to meeting them face to face. The two weeks just flew by, and it was actually useful because I had the time to practice my chopstick skills and learn about Korean culture and history.


The first day out of quarantine was magical. The vice SEO (Jimin) helped me find my accommodation, then we met with the SEO (Da Won) and another KNAPS member (Hyein). We visited ‘Songdo Central Park’ in Incheon and had chicken and beer for lunch together. We immediately became friends and joked and laughed a lot the rest of the day while eating traditional ice cream (patbingsu) and riding a boat in the Park. Also, visited ‘Songdo Hanok Village’ and saw the beauty of Korea culture by walking around the traditional Korean house, Hanok.


My internship started at Gachon University in Professor Shim’s lab. I had little experience in a biological lab before, but everyone was kind and helpful and answered every question of mine, so I gained numerous valuable experience and knowledge during the four weeks. At lunchtime, we usually ate and had coffee together with the coworkers, so we spent a lot of time together and got to know each other very well.



Most days after work and on the weekends, I met with KNAPS members. At first, I was worried because the school was far from Seoul, but I truly enjoyed Korea in Incheon. There is a city called Songdo in Incheon, which has beautiful buildings, a great night view, and a lot of good restaurants. After work in the lab, I met a KNAPS member at triple-street in Incheon, tried a new food called shabu-shabu, and had a good time drinking beer together. Besides, I got a tour of some of the areas of Seoul or just went out, played some games like pool or bowling and drank some beers. I was interested in Korean cuisine so they made sure that I tried every possible dish and I had so many great dinners that I couldn’t even count. (Luckily, I have a picture of every single one of them.) One of the best memories is from the Sokcho trip. Sokcho is a beautiful town on the east shore of the peninsula. We went hiking to the breathtaking Seoraksan national park and then we rested our legs at the beach making sand mermaids out of each other. At night we played games and drank Soju at the Hotel.


Even though the COVID-19 made a lot of things complicated, the whole month was super eventful, and it was a perfect mixture of learning new things, making silly jokes, laughing and having interesting conversations with international peers. I met so many fascinating people, heard so many interesting stories and new perspectives, saw so many beautiful places and tasted so many delicious new flavors that when my Hungarian friends back home ask how Korea was, I am struggling to express myself. I can’t put my gratitude into words for the KNAPS team for all the caring, for always double checking if I know the way back the accommodation and for all the kindness.

When we parted, I was sad and KNAPS team members seemed to have same feeling. However, I want to tell this sentences. Don't be dismayed at goodbye, a farewell is necessary before we can meet again and meeting again, after moments of lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. Everything was truly an experience of a lifetime and I will remember it forever.